Public Speaking Lab

The Amazon Meeting Hack: How to Transform Boring Meetings

Allow me to let you in on a little meeting hack that’s about to blow your mind. This one’s not from me, but rather from someone who works at the Amazon headquarters. It’s a super cool trick they use in their meetings. 

You know, we’ve all been there—meetings where no one’s done their pre-reading, and the whole thing turns into a snooze fest. Because, let’s be honest: most meetings are pretty boring. And that’s because people don’t come prepared. But here’s the hack: Allocate time at the start of your meetings for reading materials. 

Let’s dive into the details. 

Picture this: you’re all set for a meeting, and you have a pile of materials to review. But, let’s be honest, most of us don’t find the time or the inclination to go through those documents before the meeting starts. We’re swamped with work, or sometimes we’re just not that interested. So what happens? You walk into the meeting, and it’s like a room full of blank faces. No one’s on the same page. The meeting limps along, and at the end, nothing much changes. Sound familiar?

These unprepared meetings often turn into time-wasting exercises, as participants struggle to catch up on the fly. This lack of preparation also leads to poor decision-making, as individuals can’t make informed choices without all the necessary information.

What is the Amazon meeting hack?

Here’s where the Amazon hack comes into play. This hack revolves around a simple yet transformative idea: dedicating the initial ten minutes of the meeting to reading materials. In a strategic move, Amazon incorporates essential documents directly into the meeting agenda, ensuring that every participant starts with a shared understanding right from the beginning.

This innovative practice is designed to create a foundation of knowledge before discussions commence. Providing participants with the necessary background information before the meeting officially begins ensures that everyone is on the same page, quite literally. Rather than diving straight into discussions, the first ten minutes are reserved for absorbing key documents, reports, or relevant materials.

But how does this unique reading time reshape the dynamics of meetings? The impact is profound. With everyone well-informed about the context and details, participants are empowered to actively engage, share valuable insights, and collaborate effectively. The days of blank stares and clueless nods are replaced by a room full of engaged individuals who are not only informed but also ready to contribute meaningfully to the discussions.

This approach addresses a common challenge in meetings – varying levels of background knowledge among participants. By ensuring that everyone is briefed on the essential information at the outset, it sets the stage for a more productive and collaborative meeting environment. This practice exemplifies how a small adjustment to the meeting structure can yield significant improvements in participant engagement, comprehension, and overall effectiveness.

The Amazon hack is not just about reading; it’s about making every meeting count. It’s a powerful way to end the ‘boring’ and enhance the ‘brainy’ in your gatherings. With this simple twist, you can ensure your meetings are productive, engaging, and time well-spent. The next time you step into that meeting room, be the one to suggest the change!